I left my studio

Yep! I went down to the beach in North Carolina for some brisk beach walks and salty air.

5:2:hatteras15:2:hatteras2There is cactus there. And people zipping around the water using kites.

5:2:hatteras3Lots of pretty beaches for walks.

5:2:hatteras4And lighthouses.

5:2:hatteras55:2:hatteras65:2:hatteras7Big dunes and bird watching.

5:2:hatteras8Did I mention that my daughter was part of the group?

5:2:hatteras9And then a very long drive in the pouring rain.

5:2:hatteras10The last leg was a train trip from Connecticut back to Boston. One of the things I love about the train is all the views of the undersides of the world.

5:2:hatteras11And I’m home! Hopefully I will be back to work soon and get some things finished up and posted. So much to do including the garden which came to life when I was gone. See you soon!

let’s review- 2012

My Christmas sewing this year- reusable lunch bags and shopping bags-

Another year goes by! I am thankful for my blog to keep my memories for me. It is fun to go back and review. Here are some things that made me happy this year-

– a new floor in the studio! I know it doesn’t seem like much but I love scooting around in my chair.

– I was in a show with some other fantastic doll artists. Thanks Nichol!

– I went to Honk! It was AMAZING!

– San Francisco- Loved it! Renegade and some vacation too.

– I got to meet Sonya for the first time when I went to SF. We’ve been internet buddies for years and it was a thrill to give her a hug in person. And then we got to meet again!

– I won something from a blog give-away- Thanks again Mr. Finch! I love my moth!

– My monthly meet-up with other like-minded crafty-biz people. We are starting our 4th year in January! This meet-up started from a New Years resolution and all I can say is, if you want something in your life, sometimes you really can make it happen!

– And Ryan, my 5 hour a week helper. It has been great fun having someone to talk to on a schedule.

Other important events of the year-

– I took Sister Diane‘s class about doing on-line classes. I quickly realized that I really didn’t want to do it. And that was absolutely worth taking the class to figure out. It became clear to me that doing the classes involves a lot of tech support- not something I want to do. And, being the kind of person I am, I would likely be unable to do any other work during the duration of the class- too distracting.

– 2 things that sound good but mostly were really stressful for me, book and licensing.

– I did 3 Renegade shows- Brooklyn, San Francisco and Chicago. I decided not to do any Holiday shows this year- the right decision for my sanity but maybe not for my business. Hard to know.

Tomorrow I will post my dolls of 2012.

and then I went to a doll conference

I went to the NIADA conference in Stamford, CT. I saw some amazing artwork.

I love Neva‘s work- the craftsmanship is amazing and her humor has stayed with me- every time I think back, I am amused again!

Nancy Wiley‘s beautiful work. She now has 2 children’s book- Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Red Riding Hood. I bought myself the Red Riding Hood book. She did a presentation and described the process of illustrating the book and self-publishing.

Ana Salvador

Ankie Daanen

I love seeing Shelley Thornton‘s work. I wish there might be more but even one is a treat.

E.J. Taylor

I saw other dolls (Anna Zueva) that I missed getting photos of and met some wonderful people (Lillian Alberti). There were hours and hours of presentations.

The talk I needed to hear was by Robert Tonner who is currently celebrating 20 years of his doll company. He spoke at the first NIADA conference I went to in 2005- I still remember things he said from that first talk. This is what he said that I wrote down and will post in my studio- If you want to grow, let it go. I need to hear that- over, and over, and over… yes, I admit it. I can go nuts if things aren’t just so- especially if they have my name on them… reminder to self- let it go.

And now I will probably burn any bridges that might have existed with the NIADA part of the doll world. Wow- I just checked out the doll websites for the above artists and several others too. Most of them have not gotten the message about the internet. Please- update your sites! Put some of your new dolls up there. Get rid of the black backgrounds. How many clicks does it take to see what you do? Sigh.

And here is a story that will be what I remember from this trip. If I ever get worried that I am getting a fat head when exciting things happen, I will come back over here, reread this and laugh one more time!

background- On Saturday morning there was a program where visiting artists’ could sign up to show 10 images of their work- they called it 10 x 12 (based on this). I hadn’t submitted my images because I thought that, heh, I’m all over the internet. People have seen my work and I should give other people a chance. (silly me!) When I asked the organizer of the program, she told me only 7 people had submitted work so I joined the fun after all. I presented and survived- it was the first time I have ever spoken into a microphone! At the end I mentioned the licensing contract with Land of Nod. I then spent the rest of the day answering the question- how did LON find me. I don’t actually know the answer to that but tried to suggest ways that hopefully didn’t make me sound like a jerk. That evening was the banquet and again someone asked- how did they find me? Maybe I’d used up all my patience but I said- they probably saw my work on line. I’m pretty well known on the internet. And the woman sitting next to me asks, For what?

I am still laughing. It was all so absurd. Yes, I was at a doll conference. No, almost no one there knew my work or was even interested. I apparently don’t fit their definition? Luckily I am at a place with my work that I find it funny and not discouraging. And, next year I will think about going to Comic Con where I think I might fit in a little better.

what’s happening

I know it has been quiet here and that might be true for a while. I have a big, un-blog-able project to finish up. I am heading down to Stamford, Connecticut and going to the NIADA conference on Thursday. I’m hoping to have my project mostly done although I know in my rational head that that is totally unrealistic.

To tell the truth, my Chicago trip knocked me for a loop. I can’t blame how I’m currently feeling entirely on the trip- I’ve been heading in that direction for a while. I’ve been spending too much time on things that aren’t making me happy with the direction my art life is going. I’ve got to slow down and do some reflecting. Way back in December I was feeling like things were getting off track. The Chicago trip was just the last straw I guess. My mood was off the whole time I was there. I seemed to be feeling very fragile. Loads of nice people came into my booth but I only seemed to hear the horrible things that got said (Really people, do you not realize that the maker of the work is standing right there?!) I was having some vague allergic reaction that was making me itch, part of my display got totally soaked on Saturday night, I had some booth neighbors who need to learn some show etiquette, a giant dog came into my booth and grabbed one of the dolls…  yep, not a great time.

So, I am trying to imagine how I might redirect my energies in the coming months to get to a better place. Firstly, I will not be doing any Holiday markets or shows this year. I will continue to stock my Etsy shop and that will be how I will manage my holiday season sales. I’ve got other ideas going around in my head but will keep them to myself for now. I just know for sure that I want to have some time with no deadlines and no demands. Sounds good, right! And, eventually I will post some photos of our trip to House On the Rock.


San Francisco was Awesome!

I had a fantastic time in San Francisco. Renegade was incredible. I heard that 17,000 people came on Saturday and I’m not sure what the total was for the weekend. Our days afterward were filled with visits to wonderful places and first-time meet ups with internet friends.

We started our stay in San Francisco in an apartment that we found through airbnb. It was on a really steep hill, just a few blocks from the very windy Lombard St.

We had excellent views.

The venue at Fort Mason was wonderful- indoors, lots of light, wide aisles, real bathrooms and running water… Paradise! So many people came out to say hi- I was thrilled and a bit overwhelmed. If you came by and I had a dazed look on my face, that is why. I am not used to being around so many people! Thank you to everyone who stopped by, bought my work, said nice things, brought me presents (!). It was incredible busy and one sign of how good an event it was for me- I ran out of shopping bags!

So, I am sure I will be back! Here I am at my booth-

Isn’t that a fantastic photo? An amazing photographer, Sarah Deragon stopped by and took some shots. Then she sent me a link and said I could use them- for free– as long as I credit her. Wow! I am so grateful. Check out her website– she does amazing portraiture. Honestly, I met and interacted with so many nice people.

Here are my pics of my set-up-

And someone brought her tiny world to show me. So beautifully done and unfortunately my photo is blurry- sorry V. I love seeing the personal creative touches. She’d added yoyo’s around the edge!

At the end of the day on Sunday, my Sister-in-law picked us up and we went down to Santa Cruz for a few days and then later back up to Berkeley. Here is a quick list of the people I met up with-

Robert Mahar and Cathy Callahan of Cathy of California who were at Renegade with me. Michelle, who I (internet) met originally when she still had her craft blog going, Green Kitchen. I had dinner with Alice aka Futuregirl. And I spent a wonderful day with Sonya, both at her studio and some other places she took me to around town. I am always amazed at how comfortable it is for me to meet people that I’ve had an internet connection with- all the ice-breaking, explaining, proving ones self can be skipped over. We already “get” each other and speak the same language.

And the fiber art related places I visited:

– the Jean Paul Gaultier show at the de Young Museum. It was incredible- absolutely worth seeing if you can. I wish I’d had a whole day to spend just watching the videos of the fashion shows.

Castle In The Air is a fun shop with all kinds of little treasures for art making. They are famous for their German crepe paper and high quality glitter.  Hard to describe really!

– Tail Of The Yak (which doesn’t seem to have a website) was amazing, what can I say. They have a stuffed emu.

And they carry surprise balls by Anandamayi Arnold who unfortunately also doesn’t seem to have a website. There is a blog post about her and her botanical surprise balls here. I bought one that looks like a plum because I thought the beautiful lily would never make it home in my suitcase.

Sonya took me to Lacis, a store I’ve been hoping to visit for as long as I can remember. This is another place where I could spend a day, exploring and spending a pot of gold!

There were so many threads of various kinds- my idea of a thrill! Also, ribbons, lace, trims, tools, notions, books, wedding dresses, hats, buttons… honestly, I was in heaven.

After a delicious lunch we headed over to A Verb For Keeping Warm, a fabric/yarn shop/studio to visit and for me to buy some SF fabrics. I will try to get my act together and post photos of some of the treasures I brought home. As I said, an amazing trip!

Here is a public Google Map I made with places I went to and some places I wish I’d gotten to so will hopefully get there next time, all recommended by various people who know the area better than me. If you have favorite places that aren’t on the map, I’d love to add them so I will remember on my next trip out west.

what’s up

I am in a weird twilight zone between Brooklyn Renegade and San Francisco Renegade. I will be in San Francisco in 2 weeks!

When I got back from Brooklyn, I had a very long to-do list. I’ve been working through computer jobs, travel planning and home sewing. I made new shades for the kitchen-

a nightgown, and a baby gift-

I’ve got a number of projects going on in the studio so I’ll have some dolls to show soon.

I am going to have to start haunting the thrift shops again- I need more fox-colored wools.

I’ve got lots on my mind. The SF show has a lot of little logistical problems that I have to figure out but it is all coming together. I’m excited!

I ought to be spending some time in the garden but it seems to be doing just fine without me-

I know that other parts of the country have been having a difficult summer, but the Boston area seems to be having the perfect Daylily weather. I have never seen them look so healthy and have so many flowers. Everything else is looking good too.

Two of my garden favs- crocosmia “Lucifer”

and poppies-


studio tidbits

Back at the beginning of the year, I got myself some new storage units for my cotton fabrics. Getting them in place involved moving a lot of stuff around. As is my way, I got the job about 80% finished and then got back to work. Within a day or 2, all the piles that I had to step over to get to my desk became invisible. I’ve spent some time this week cleaning the studio and working to get some of that mess sorted out. I thought I’d show you a few favorite things.

My Sister-in-law gave me this doll trunk. It had been her Mom’s. It sits on a bureau in my studio and is mostly used as a prop for some of my dolls. But, it really is a treasure chest.

Ignore those doll clothes hanging in the window- they are part of something else all together. In the trunk there are clothes that were probably suitable for a child of the 1920’s and earlier.

Sorry about the photos- it has been a grey week with a bit of snow. But look- doll gloves! And hats and jewelery!

And lots of dresses.

Unfortunately, most everything is damaged- probably because children actually played with them. There is a lot of silk in the clothes and silk is prone to rot.

I love all the drop-waist dresses. They look like they were all made from the same basic pattern with changes in the necklines. They also look like a child made them- definitely homemade. There are also 4 petticoats but I am not sure how they work with a drop-waist dress.

And a girl/doll needs a coat (or 3), right?

Next little peak- As you know, I have a lot of my Mom’s old fabric and clothes. I’ve cut up lots of it, but some things seem precious and I can’t bear to re-purpose them. This top has been my chair shirt for several years. When I was going through the family photos last summer, I found a picture of my Mom wearing it- I love when that happens! I would guess that this is from the late 60’s.

My studio is looking pretty great right now. If the sun comes out in the next few days, I will try to get some decent photos to show you.

I rewarded myself with a trip to Gather Here (do you live near Boston? If you haven’t been here- go!) and some super fabric- including some of Lizzy House‘s Hello Pilgrim.

Also some super soft corduroy, some Cloud 9 dots and some Lotta Jansdotter. Here it is, all washed, ironed and ready to use.

And last, a snow photo. This has pretty much been it for our winter!

Have a great weekend! My daughter and a friend are going to be here for the weekend- Hurray!


things were really different back then

I’m working away but nothing to post. Also, I’ve got some topics I’d like to write about but that will take a lot of time and I’m not in the mood. So, this is a pop-in post!

I’m taking apart some old shorts- isn’t this label amazing?!

These were from my parents. I thought I remembered my mom wearing them in the 60’s but the label makes me wonder if I am remembering wrong.

And, speaking of memories. My brother scanned a ton of old photos after my Dad died last summer. When I look at these, all I could think is- real life in the 50’s and 60’s was a lot different than tv or the movies.

Yep, pajamas on the line. My sister and I wore them later with the feet cut off. (mid-50’s)

Galoshes and snow pants. And a kite? I have no idea! (late 50’s)


Cotton bathing suits and not knit cotton either! (late 50’s)

And, VERY matchy-matchy! Not to mention, petticoats. (late 50’s)


Playsuits and pixie haircuts.(early 60’s)

Happy, productive and creative weekend everybody!



some presents to myself

I’ve spent some money on things I couldn’t resist. I will list them in the order I bought them.

I got an IPad in August and I love it. I’ve been using it for running charge cards when I go to markets and so it feels like a legitimate business tool. About a month ago I bought a DODO case and I totally recommend it. The IPad feels protected and the case feels good in my hand. It is an artisan-made product which I have to admit makes me love it even more. Check it out if you are in the market for any tablet case- I think they’ve got them all.

I read this review on Pikaland. I thought, I have GOT to get that! I did. It is amazing! Check it out, Wrap.

My favorite-

Crystal posted some mushroom ornaments on her blog right before the SOWA Holiday Market. I rushed over to her booth before the show opened to check out what she brought. Unfortunately some other vender had gotten in there before me and the ones I wanted were taken. Crystal make me some more when she was back home again. These will not be going back to attic after Christmas. They will be hanging in my studio all year round.

I found this adorable little fellow at Gallery Hanahou. He is made by Anna Hrachovec of Mochimochi Land. I think he will be spending his time hanging out on top of one of the above mushrooms.

And lastly, this owl ornament (I think he is papier mache and approx. 4″ tall). I found him at John Derian.

When I was at John Derian, there were lots of items by Coral & Tusk. I had never seen the work before and was tempted and intrigued. Then, as I was catching up on my blogs on Monday, somebody linked to them! I loved this fox. He has a pocket with a camera!